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On the Agenda: December 3-6

Matthew Harwood,
Former Managing Editor,
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December 3, 2013

The Thanksgiving holiday is over, so it’s time for Congress to get back to business and tie up some loose ends–like a new budget deal, a farm bill, and a defense spending bill for next year–before the first session of the 113th Congress comes to a close, right?

Not so fast.

While there are 29 more days left in December, the House and Senate will only be in session at the same time for a measly 5 days this month, as The Washington Post points out. The House returned to work yesterday, but adjourns December 13. The Senate, however, doesn’t return until Monday, leaving only next week for a deeply divided Congress to negotiate compromises to what have been intractable policy disagreements. Don’t be surprised if members of Congress have to stick around town a little longer before they head home for the holidays again this year.

Though the Senate may be dark for one more week, there’s still plenty going on inside the Beltway this first week of December:

Tuesday, December 3rd

Patent Reform
The House Committee on Rules will consider H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, a patent reform bill sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws.”

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration will hold a public hearing in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, December 4th

The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) rulemaking authority.

Women’s Rights
The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) will hold an all-day meeting, which will include briefings on sexual assault prevention and issues related to women in combat. A half-day meeting follows on Thursday. (You can find the full schedule for the two days here.)

Thursday, December 5th

Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA)
Thursday will be a day of action to support ECPA reform. The ACLU, along with the Center for Digital Democracy and Americans for Tax Reform, have planned for a massive social and traditional media push from both tech companies and advocacy groups to promote a White House petition to support a clean ECPA bill.

Civil Rights
The Civil Rights Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) will convene with national civil rights organizations.

Future Events

Defense Bill
The Senate will resume debate next week on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (S. 1197). The bill currently includes helpful transfer provisions of Guantanamo Bay detainees, as well as provisions concerning sexual assault in the military and religious liberty. Additionally, the House and Senate may convene a conference over the two versions of the bill.

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